Take one method and play with it for at least 3 days. If it gives you a certain feeling of affinity, if it gives you a certain feeling of well-being, if it gives you a certain feeling that this is for you, then be serious about it.
Osho, The Book of Secrets, Ch 1
With these words, Osho encourages us to explore the 112 meditation techniques from The Book of Secrets. The blog post below is part of a series of chats with people, who travelled the path with one of the meditations for a longer period of time. Here is the third story. It is about finding meditation in the middle of daily life.
The Book of Secrets was the second Osho book I came across in my life, and I was completely blown away by it. Over the years I’ve played with many of the 112 meditations. The ones that attracted me most in the beginning turned out to drop away. Those were the shiny ones that seemed to promise a certain glamour or accomplishment. Through many years of experimenting and trying, things came down to what actually worked. And so it would be wrong to say that I chose a meditation – it rather chose me. The meditation that found me is: “When in worldly activity, keep attentive between the two breaths, and so practicing, in a few days, be born anew.” This technique surprised me: It is ordinary, it is simple, it is just about noticing the gap between the two breaths. Not something that is necessarily appealing to the mind – except maybe the idea that things will take only “a few days”.
The way my life has been evolving over the last years, I’ve become less able to dedicate one full hour a day to a structured meditation. I work as a counsellor and case manager for disenfranchised people in a big city. My work is often volatile dealing with drug, alcohol, and mental health issues. I needed a technique that worked as part of my daily life. Becoming aware of the gap between the two breaths helps me not to be identified. It creates a distance – a situation where I am playing a role in a drama. It takes the sting out of scenarios that can be confronting and scary. It helps me to stay present instead of being reactive, outraged or wanting to run away.
I’ve always been passionate about self-remembering. This led me first to Gurdjieff, and then to Osho. It’s been a life-long quest for me. There was a lot of trying to remember, of course. And the more you try the less you remember; you can’t will it. Of course, you have to make the effort, but then it comes on its own accord. This method helped to me to stop trying. Breath is a constant, it is so simple, and it is here, and now. I wouldn’t say that I am disciplined, but the breath helps me. It draws me back to myself. The trap with self-remembrance – Osho talked about it – is to remember the ego and not the real self. Watching the breath protects against that. Breath is so ordinary.
I had my time of longing for the extraordinary. I wanted to achieve something through meditation. Then something shifted, and I started to crave ordinariness and simplicity. And there was the breath. The one place I wasn’t looking. I didn’t make any deliberate attempt to follow this technique for a period of three months, but it is what I fall back onto. It is like food – nourishment for the soul. The witness, the pole star that never moves, this is what I feel in the gap between the breaths. It is a fascinating place where it all stops, where I stop. It is such a small moment, and yet it is large. It gives me a taste that’s not of the mind. Even on a crowded, messy commuters’ train, or in the midst of a counselling session. These small moments of remembering the gap are my homecoming; they are homeopathic doses of bliss. They put a smile on my face.
And the last part of the sutra (laughs) – “in a few days, be born a new” – I might have taken that seriously at the beginning, but not anymore!
You can find Osho’s commentary on this meditation in chapter 5 of The Book of Secrets. In chapter 4, Osho answers a question related to watching the gap.